10 Shocking Facts
The California drought and Flint’s lead problem are just part of the bad news about world water supplies.
By Robert Kravitz
Even though only a handful of U.S. states are experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, down from more than 35 states a couple of years back, water concerns just won’t go away.
“All over the globe, there are areas and entire continents experiencing water shortages,” says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co., a company that makes no-water urinals and other restroom products. “And according to a variety of studies and water experts, these conditions are expected to only get worse.”
Indeed, the facts about water are startling.
- Worldwide demand for water tripled in the 20th century but is expected to double every 21 years in the 21st century.
- According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, one-third of all humans will face severe or chronic water shortages by 2025.
- An estimated 80% of India’s surface water is contaminated by animal or human waste.
- In northern China, the water table is dropping about three feet per year due to over-pumping.
- For the first time in 30 years, Saudi Arabia will no longer grow wheat; they don’t have enough water for wheat irrigation purposes.
- Closer to home, Arizona and New Mexico use about 300 million gallons more water per day than they get in renewable supplies.
- Lake Mead, which provides water for large areas of the western U.S., has 50% less water compared to 1998.
- Every eight seconds, a child dies from drinking soiled drinking water.
- It is predicted that 1.7 billion people will be living in “dire water poverty” by 2050.
- Eight states in the U.S. are now so concerned about their dwindling water supplies that they have banned the export of water to other states. Canada also is attempting to ban export of water to the U.S.
“As you can see, we have some serious water issues before us,” says Reichardt. “Our biggest hope is that new technologies and more investment in water infrastructure around the world will help us address these growing concerns.”